“My passion is my life. I live from it and I love to share this passion with others…“Pastry is an art, let’s share our passion”.

Starting his pastry career at a tender age of 15, Chef Simon has been honing his skills in pastry making ever since. What started off as baking experimentation in the kitchen had allowed him to discover where his interests lie, motivating him to put a foot forward into the pastry scene. Graduating with a Masters Degree in Pastry and Bakery in Vendée, Chef Simon’s passion in pastry making brought him from his hometown in France to renowned restaurants in London, UK, and Brisbane, Australia and finally New York – where he currently resides. In today’s host spotlight, meet French Pastry Chef, Simon, and learn how he is sharing his talent and expertise in his classes to bring people together through the art of pastry and dessert making.

Hi Simon, can you introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

I’m Simon Hergray, owner and pastry chef of French’Encas. We offer hands-on pastry classes and French pastry/wine pairing tasting.

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

I started my pastry career when I was 15 years old as I always have an interest in baking and cooking from as far as I remember.  When I was a kid my mom was always cooking at home. I like to bake so she let me do the baking experiment and provide me all that I need and some tips.

From that, my family knew a pastry chef in my small town and I spent few days with him when I was 14 to decide if I want to start my pastry training or not… I love it! So I signed up for apprenticeship when I get 15.
What does your passion mean to you?

My passion is my life. I live from it and I love to share this passion with others. It was thus, natural for me to open my business in this order.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I like to discover new tasks and techniques. Becoming a host allows me to always be thinking every day to create new pastries, and to look around to find new things which I could share with my students.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

People love food and are passionate – I’m just here to bring people together.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

I love it when my student sends me an email with some of their creation after joining my classes! One goal of my classes is for people to bake again at home. I have sometimes people sending me emails for some extra tips or even sharing pictures when they are proud of the result, haha.

What is your favorite dish and the story behind it?

My favorite dish is “Madeleine”. It’s an old traditional cookie from Brittany, which is where I’m from. Madeleine is yummy right off the oven, and since they take like 15-20min to do from scratch you can bake some whenever you want! I also like fact that you kind have them with lots of different flavors event savory, great idea for some snack with friends.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about your passion?

Don’t be scared to look around, especially with regards to food you are not used to.

How long have you been living in New York? What are some insider tips you’d like to recommend to someone who just moved to the city?

I have lived in New York for 8 years. Give the city a try, you will either love it or hate it. As a Chef, I love to eat… Haha, so I spend lot’s of time out try new places or go to my favorites/chefs friends restaurants.

What is your favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your students?

I have lots of couple and family group coming to my classes. Usually one of them tells me “I’m the worst in the group” so I take a special interest in them. And usually they like baking and kind of showing their self to impress others, it’s funny and also why I do my classes, to inspire people!

What are your goals for the future?

I would like to offer more pastry tastings for the community. It’s my way to introduce my own creations.


Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?

Take your time and get all the information before you start. Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice when you need them. Pastry making is a passion, if you want to earn your life with it – be careful, it’s a tough business. Find the perfect way to keep enjoying it. Sometimes, the best is the make it a hobby at home and share it with your family/friends ?

What does Verlocal mean to you?

I like how Verlocal promotes experiences for their true value!

Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?

“Pastry is an art, let’s share our passion”. This quote is my daily goal to keep myself going forward!

Share with us your favorite French Pastry and tell us why you want to learn to make it by April 14, 2017! One lucky commenter will have the chance to meet Chef Simon and attend a Traditional French Pastries class for FREE.

If you are a host on Verlocal and would love to feature on host spotlight, send us an email at [email protected] with a short paragraph about why you want to be featured!

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